How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Review: Animated April

All due respect to “Big Hero 6” and “Toy Story 3” & “4,” but the “How to Train Your Dragon” franchise going 0-3 in the Best Animated Feature category is one of the greatest mistakes in recent Oscar history. Director Dean DeBlois’s trilogy is not only great entertainment, but powerful emotional storytelling about what it means to grow up, and be responsible for others. 2019’s “The Hidden World” brings this franchise’s ideas full-circle, and delivers what might be one of the most satisfying conclusions to a trilogy in movie history. Continue reading How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Review: Animated April

Retrospective: The Fellowship of the Ring 20th Anniversary

By Joan Amenn “A wizard is never late… nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.” -Gandalf the Grey The twentieth anniversary of “The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001) arrives this weekend, precisely on time for its fans to start their annual viewing marathon of the trilogy as a whole. Evaluated on its own merits, “Fellowship” is a breathtaking achievement although at … Continue reading Retrospective: The Fellowship of the Ring 20th Anniversary

Review: Nightmare Alley

Year: 2021 Runtime: 150 minutes Director: Guillermo del Toro Writers: Guillermo del Toro, Kim Morgan Actors: Bradley Cooper, Rooney Mara, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Ron Perlman, Toni Collette, David Strathairn, Richard Jenkins, Mary Steenburgen, Mark Povinelli, Jim Beaver By Joan Amenn Rejoice, lovers of gothic drama and noir femme fatales! Guillermo del Toro is back and has he got a holiday surprise for us! You … Continue reading Review: Nightmare Alley

#WomeninAction Retrospective Review: Hanna

Action films aren’t exactly what you think of when you hear director Joe Wright or actress Saoirse Ronan’s names. They probably conjure thoughts of period dramas, like the 2007 “Atonement” that they worked on together. And yet, in 2011, Wright directed Ronan in “Hanna,” an action film that has been compared to the Bourne movies, and did remarkably good job. Continue reading #WomeninAction Retrospective Review: Hanna

Pride Month, Retrospective Review: Carol

There’s just something about “Carol” (2015). Not just the mature storytelling, or the strong direction from Todd Haynes, or even the film’s beautiful and stylish design. Those are all contributing factors to the film’s resonance, but, what really captures the spirit, is the magnetism between our two leads: Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Based on the novel The Price of Salt, by Patricia Highsmith, and intelligently adapted to the screen by Phyllis Nagy, “Carol” is another intimate LGBTQ story that is required viewing. Continue reading Pride Month, Retrospective Review: Carol

Spotlight: Sally Potter- Writer, Director, Choreographer, Musician

A creative force to be reckoned with. This woman graduated as a dancer, choreographed dance shows, made music, directed plays and wrote and directed world-class movies. And all this output can be traced back to when she was the tender age of 14 and made her first 8mm films. Her name: Sally Potter.

If you have seen one or two Potter films, you may think that she broke or rejected the conventions of mainstream film making, but that isn’t quite right. What Potter does with her films is let them speak. The ideas within them come out in ways that are free forming and she follows the flow of them until they are completed films. They are not without structure or form; they are parts of the human condition that have been given freedom of expression. Continue reading Spotlight: Sally Potter- Writer, Director, Choreographer, Musician

The Moral Perplexities of Two Women In Love in Todd Haynes’ “Carol”

When “Carol” premiered, the film received a 10-minute standing ovation at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. The motion picture based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel titled “The Price of Salt” was shot on Super 16 millimeter film. Todd Haynes, the director and Phyllis Nagy who wrote a screenplay, wanted “Carol” to look and have an atmosphere of the late 1940s/early 1950s. Both did such an outstanding job. Continue reading The Moral Perplexities of Two Women In Love in Todd Haynes’ “Carol”